Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 28, 1954

Christ Beat Him To It

Harvey Pearson, Henryetta, Oklahoma

I have a great deal of respect for my elder preaching brethren and yet at times I find myself wondering. On the surface of their actions it seems that there is hatred and jealousy, yet within me I cannot believe it to be really true. Too many times, I have read their articles on brotherly love, on repentance and forgiveness, to entertain the idea for very long that these brethren of mine are guilty of the same sins which they condemn. Having admitted that I do become guilty of suspecting my preaching brethren of the wrong motives, I must admit also that I have at times felt like telling them off in no uncertain terms. At such times I am guilty of the very thing that has caused me to suspect wrong motives. But all of this is evidence of a lamentable condition in the brotherhood. That condition is division in speech, mind, and judgment; marked by "biting and devouring one of another." "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." (Gal. 5:15.)

I have made these introductory remarks in order to cushion my reply to an article written by Brother Tillit S. Teddlie, entitled THEY BEAT ME TO IT. This article has appeared in at least two religious journals. One of the journals describes its purpose by its name — "Gospel Advocate." We would suppose that the articles contained therein would advocate (To plead in favor of; to support, vindicate, or recommend publicly) the gospel. The other journal has as its policy " — the Defense of the Ancient Gospel Delivered to the Saints." Yet it is strange to note that no scripture is referred to in the article. We wonder then, in what way the article advocates the gospel or defends it.

Basically, the article deals with "how" to preach the gospel. It is inferred that one should not preach the gospel and call the name of a religious sect while teaching the truth. The inference is gathered from these statements:

1. "They have been driven away from these meetings by the preachers who are determined to call names ..."

2. "But, these name-calling preachers have beat me to it. They have driven the sects away ..."

I am not implying that I disagree with everything that is said in the article. The reported conversations of the two young preachers certainly do not show a proper concept of the gospel and its deliverance. I do not believe in "skinning the sectarians alive," as Brother Teddlie has reported the young preacher suggesting. Nor do I believe that "When you preach it straight, they will not hear it." But to imply that the calling of a sectarian name has no place in the preaching of the gospel, certainly is not in harmony with the writings and reported sermons in the New Testament. For example, I am sure that the gospel was intended for the Sadducees, a religious party or "sect" among the Jews. Paul said the gospel was the power to save "everyone" that believed. I cannot help but wonder whether or not some of these Sadducees ever read Matthew's account of the gospel. If so, would it have been better for Matthew to have written, "Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of that particular group of people who are reported to promise in the presence of three members, that they will not eat of anything which has not been tithed, and the group who deny the resurrection and a future life"? (Matt. 16:12.) I wonder if John, on the isle of Patmos, actually did what Christ commanded of him. John was commanded, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." (Rev. 2:1.) (Please pardon the "bluntness" and seeming "sarcasm" of what follows. I do not mean to be unkind or irreverent, but rather I want to show that the Bible does not condemn the calling of sectarian names in the preaching of the gospel.) In the light of what has been said in the article "They Beat Me To It," (assuming that all implications are truth) we wonder if John wrote what was commanded of him to write. Did Jesus say to the church at Ephesus, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of that group who believe that it is right to eat food sacrificed to idols, who do not believe that God is the creator of the universe, who hold their women in common, which I also hate"? (Rev. 2:6.) Was John, the apostle of love, one of those "untrained, uncultured, know-all preachers" who deliberately changed the words of Jesus, and called this sect by name? What do you suppose those Nicolaitanes thought when they heard this letter? Where is the church at Ephesus? "They have been driven away from these meetings by the preachers who are determined to call names and bluntly and sarcastically ridicule these people who had come to learn the truth." ????

Brethren, have we so soon forgotten our plea? Do we no longer believe that there is something in a name? Do we believe still, that there is a pattern for the church of our Lord? Is the name a part of that pattern? Can a man come to God (Heb. 11:16) believing that there is nothing in a name?

What does it take to "train" a man to preach the gospel? Must a man go to a "preacher factory" (I have no objections to colleges owned and operated by Christians in which the Bible is taught) in order to be a preacher? Is he untrained and uncultured if he attends a state institution? I have still, a firm belief in Paul's words, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Tim. 3:16-17.)